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D&D 40th Anniversary Questions in one Big (Blog) Hop

1 February, 2014

D20 Dark Ages is hosting a daily Blog Hop in honor of the 40th Anniversary of D&D.  But as I am not up to doing this on a daily basis (like Tales of the Rambling Bumblers) I will do it in one big post and wish the others well in their blog hopping.

1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first Character?

Really, it has been long enough ago and most of the people I first played with I have not seen (or even thought about) for decades.  But it was the Saturday Wargaming Club meeting hosted at the Eugene (Oregon) Public Library where I first learned about and later played D&D for the first time.  Most of the people I played that first game with were casual friends at best, none were part of my early gaming groups.

2: First person YOU introduced to D&D? Which edition? THEIR first character?

Honestly, not a clue at this point.  It almost certainly would have been original D&D or an OD&D/AD&D hybrid though.

3: First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM.

Just a dungeon as part of a pick up game at said Wargaming Club (see Q1).  The earliest memory I have of dungeon exploration is the party listening at a door and hearing “hoot-grr, hoot-grr.”  We debated for what seems like ages in retrospect before opening the door and facing an owl-bear!  Hoot-grr, indeed.

4: First dragon you slew (or some other powerful monster).

The dragon that mattered was against a very, very tough red dragon in the middle of a desert that almost killed all of the characters even though we used every trick we had (including a red dragon slaying sword and a mounted heavy lance charge) but we won in the end.  The characters retired on the wealth from that horde too.  A very satisfactory and well remembered dragon slaying.

5: First character to go from 1st level to 20th level (or highest possible level in a given edition).

Never, most campaign I have played in had different end goals than “reach 20th level” and generally we do not like higher level play.  But I have had a variety of character reach the 9th-11th level range and I am quite proud of that.

6: First character death. How did you handle it?

Characters died.  Characters you liked, got raised.  Otherwise you just rolled up a new character.  These days I am usually more attached to my characters and would miss them if they died.

7: First D&D Product you ever bought. Do you still have it?

The Greyhawk supplement for the original D&D.  I think so, somewhere . . .

8: First set of polyhedral dice you owned. Do you still use them?

Those cheap low impact one, soon ditched for high impact dice from Game Science and maybe one of those survived.  (Almost all of my early dice having been stolen along with my AD&D books when my mother’s car was stolen and they were all in the trunk.  I later found one D4 in my couch at home that I may still have.)

9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in.

Real campaign world that we attempted to actually use rather than just loosely connected dungeon crawls?  It would be early Runequest’s Glorantha soon heavily mixed with Thieves’ World, using the amazing TW boxed set.

10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc.).

Dragon, Issue 7, maybe, around there anyway.  Though I think I enjoyed the early White Dwarf more though.

11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.

Not really my schtick, if I needed something to make my character work, I usually just try to talk with the GM and see if we can work out something that fits for both of us.  Admittedly back in the day this was sometimes inspired by Dragon articles or new books.

12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?

Eugene Toy and Hobby, Endgames and Gandalf’s Den, all of which are only memories now.

13: First miniature(s) you used for D&D.

Never much of a miniatures guy except for Champions with its wonderful hex-based combat and knockback, though we did end up using minis a lot for 3.x.

14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play?

Yes, yes I did.  Yes, but not as much as she used to.  She is still my favorite GM though.

15: What was the first edition you didn’t enjoy. Why?

4th Edition, a solid game design but not the game I wanted to play.

16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win? ;)

I am pretty sure I went through a ‘realism’ phase of critiquing certain RPGs but I think (I hope) I grew out of it quickly.  These days, I am very much a play what you want to play person and I was certainly in that mode when 3rd Edition hit.  I liked it but if other people wanted to play something else, more power to them.  And I certainly tried to avoid the 3 v 4 Edition Wars as much as possible.

17: First time you heard D&D was somehow “evil.”

Sometime during the great Satanic Scare-era, we were all among dirty hippies and college students in Eugene at the time though, so we mostly just laughed at it all.  After I moved from Eugene (and especially after moving to Georgia) I have met a lot of people whose parents either forbid them from playing or actively destroyed people’s RPG books.  Very sad and a little scary.

18: First gaming convention you ever attended.

GenCon XII, where I picked up the newly released Dungeon Master’s Guide.

19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

There have been a few over the years but, hey, let us just forgive them their foibles and either move on or try and help them to be better people.

20: First non-D&D RPG you played.

Probably Traveller, but we never managed a proper campaign of that, but we ended up playing a lots of Runequest and the Champions.  Since then, I have played so many systems, so very many.

21: First time you sold some of your D&D books–for whatever reason.

A friend wanted a book I had which was out of print and I did not use.  Exciting, yes?

22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)

Quag Keep, of which I remember the lizard man and the McGuffin but little more.  The only ‘official’ D&D novel I have read was a book of Dragonlance short stories.  There is so much excellent fantasy out there that I never felt any desire to read the D&D novels (that is not intended as an insult, it is just that licensed properties fiction tends to be, well, more average).

23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

Probably Toto’s Hydra, more for the music video than anything else.

24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

Hawk the Slayer, the perfect combination of earnest characterization, shoestring special effects and wacky characters on a mission that exemplifies early D&D for me.

25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you’ve been in.

My wife’s Drakkonhold campaign which ran for ten years with the initial group and covered the founding of Drakkonhold and establishing the town and area and then another five years with the “ten years later” Drakkonhold campaign, where all of the original characters were all NPCs and the next generation of adventurers and heroes were emerging (and I was the only returning player as we had moved from Oregon to Georgia between the two).

26: Do you still game with the people who introduced you to the hobby?

Sadly no.  I am across a continent from where I started gaming and well before I moved I had fallen out of contact with most of the people I started gaming with.

27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?

Everything? While I certainly enjoyed playing back then and we all seemed to have a good, I have learned so much about being a good GM and a good player over the years that it would be good to have been able to be better.  I certainly remember my first few attempts DMing as being total disasters (which left me gun-shy for DMing for ages thereafter).

28: What is the single most important lesson you’ve learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons?

Adapt to what is happening, do not try to force things into some preimagined pattern.

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